The word prolific barely begins to describe Karsh Kale’s storied career. The British-born, New York City-raised producer and multi-instrumentalist of Indian heritage has spent the last two decades zigzagging the world, headlining major festivals and spinning records at the White House for Barack Obama. The culmination of his planetary library can be heard on his fifth studio album for Six Degrees Records, UP.
While the title implies ascension, the heart of this tale is transformation. Since the release of 2011’s Cinema, Kale has traveled between Brooklyn and India some fifty times. “When you’re always traveling you’re never really ready to go,” he says, back in his Sunset Park home. “I’d be a father in Brooklyn one moment then fly to India and go straight to a TV show or a festival.”
The emotional struggle between being a father and an artistic juggernaut can be heard on two songs, ‘Up’ and ‘Shiva.’ On the title track Kale sings in English, one of the few times in his career. The lyrics were written during a pendulum swing where he was feeling out of control. Like much of the album, Kale searched backwards to his musical influences—on this track, Shakti and Led Zeppelin—and the retro feel of the rock guitars mixed with his signature tablas gave him comfort.